I can be a bit reserved.
I can see someone who looks really interesting and unless I’ve got a good excuse (like when I worked for newspapers, or in bars and shops) I tend not to wander up, introduce myself and ask all the questions I want to ask.
Last week, however, my love of wool overcame my fear of foolishness.
When you are sitting down in the dentist’s waiting room and the only other person there is not only wearing hand-knitted socks in jewel colours, but stabbing away at some raw, unspun wool (roving) with a needle in full view of everyone, you know right there and then whether or not they’re the sort of person you want to be talking to.
I’m so uncool that she was exactly the kind of person I wanted to be talking to.
“OK,” I said, smiling and sitting down beside the bespectacled crafter who sported long, greying hair and a serene expression. “I have to ask what you’re doing with that wool…”
Soon I had found out about needle-felted dolls (tiny) and that , Kristina, was originally from somewhere not far from Strasburg (the on in Germany, not the one in Lancaster County) and had arrived in Pennsylvania with her husband and two teenage children, after five years in Hawaii. We discussed the challenges of settling in to a new place, of leaving family behind and of raising families in new places. And of course she had a connection to the local Waldorf school, which shouldn’t surprise me at all.
Her family does not even own a television, and we were able to rave on together about the wonders of the (almost) tv-free life. She was wary of computers too, though, so my suspicions that our interests only overlapped, rather than completely coinciding, were confirmed.
Still, it was so nice to sit down next to a complete stranger and, because we had one thing in common, find we could have such a great and far-ranging conversation.
I really do enjoy chatting to new and random people, even if I do seem to need a prop to get started!